The NBA playoffs have arrived, and here's 10 things to watch

The NBA playoffs have arrived, and here's 10 things to watch

The NBA playoffs have arrived, and here's 10 things to watch

While this playoff series won't affect the results of that award, this will give each player a chance to prove they are the deserving victor. A combination of Stephen Curry, Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green should be a handful for any team across NBAhistory.

"Don't let the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead distract you from the fact that..." It's a chance for Golden State to prove why it's the league's golden team, but also a chance to see what kind of find the Blazers have. The only certainty from this year's Western Conference Playoffs is that it's going to be wild.

There will also be playoff debuts for two referees. Grizzlies have won one of those series.

However, the conference finals go as expected, and for the third year in a row Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors meet LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

Need to know: James Harden versus Russell Westbrook is going to be the focus here, without question.

Portland must pick who to try to stop, and that's a daunting task with the Warriors' loaded lineup.

In a highly anticipated and high-scoring Western Conference Finals showdown, the Warriors found a way to outduel and outscore the Rockets. Mid-season trade that brought in Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott has been a boon for the Thunder, but McDermott was dealing with a knee injury at season's end. By comparison, on average a win cost $2.61 million league-wide this season, according to payroll figures from Basketball Reference. Don't expect that number to go down.

After the Harden-Westbrook matchup, this one is the next best. The two have history - and it's not friendly. Sixth consecutive year for Clippers in the playoffs.

This is the closest matchup on paper, but nobody was willing to pick the Jazz - perhaps due to their stars' lack of playoff experience and doubts about the health of Derrick Favors and Rodney Hood.


IN is hardly a pushover, and Paul George is the type of player who is going to have a transcendent playoff series at some point that will send James home. The Washington Capitals make the conference finals, only to be picked off by Les Habitants (that's French for "Canadians"*) in seven games (sorry, Ted Leonsis). The victor takes it all may be an old cliché, but it is what defines the NBA's postseason. Defence came on in a big way for the Celtics over the final two months of the season. There can be upsets, sweeps, injuries, close wins and heartbreaking losses. His savvy, along with that of Wade, would lessen the odds of an upset occurring. "Obviously when you add Durant on to the team it adds another potent scorer who fits in well with how they play".

If any team can flip the switch, it might be this one.

In the Celtics vs. Bulls playoff, experts predict that while the Celtics have fought hard to earn the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls have a good chance at winning considering their unsafe squad. "I just like the way we ended the season this year".

It was the last playoff series to be determined, but both teams took care of business, which left them with matching records and the Clippers with the slightly higher seeding.

As defending champions, the Cavaliers shouldn't emphasize the regular season outside of getting in tune for the playoffs. With their defensive upgrades, the No. 3 seed Toronto Raptors (+900) are capable of making noise if Kyle Lowry gets back to 100 per cent. Mike D'Antoni's Rockets can score points in a hurry and will be hard to contain by the Thunder, whose fate will mostly be determined by the brilliance of one man.

Raptors in 6: I agree with Jeremy that this is one of the Raptors' best teams in years, especially their resilience (20 double-digit comeback wins).

Wizards in 6: The Hawks present some challenges for the Wizards, but John Wall and Bradley Beal will be too much for Atlanta to handle.

But the love was not meant to last, as Kevin Durant finally had a wake-up game. Wins over Boston and Cleveland in the final week were huge confidence-boosters for Hawks.

China urges US and North Korea to refrain from provoking each other
Lewis Hamilton relishing battle with 'rapid' Sebastian Vettel this season